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Being forced to resign after asking for accommodations.

by Tired of the Fight
(Michigan)

I have worked for a company xyz for 14 months in a salary position. They have a very relaxed structure people are able to flex time as needed for shopping, getting nails done, sick leave, family leave, etc. There was also the option to make up time by working from home.


This flexible schedule has worked very well for me because I have an Autistic son and I have a medical issues that cause extreme fatigue. We have to keep track of our hours and I average 45 hours per week.

In the last thirteen months 8 employees have been terminated out of an office of seven employees. Extremely high turn over rate. I now have the second highest seniority. I realized that in August or September I was the next target. I was told that we can no longer work from home and that we need to stay in the office to make up any time missed. They started assigning my work to other co-workers. I have been actively seeking work since this time.

My anniversary date was in October and according to the attendance policy. I have five paid sick days for the year starting in October. I was off two days in November with the stomach flu and received a written warning stating that if I missed any more days I would be terminated and any missing days would be without pay.

In response to the written warning I wrote a letter asking for accommodations due to my health conditions and caring for an Autistic son. I wanted to be able to exchange vacation days in lieu of sick days or be able to flex time from home only if needed.

The following day they asked all employees to turn in their keys and that there would no longer be any flex time nor would we be able to work from home. My supervisor told me I needed to have all manuals and work complete by December 30th.

They also told a co-worker that this was a temporary situation and they would be able to flex again once they got a situation sorted out. I do have documented proof that employees are still flexing and working from home.

Unfortunately I came down with the rotovirus and missed two days after the first written warning and a fellow co-worker was out sick for the whole week and she was able to come in on the weekend and make up her hours.

I received my final written warning on December 30th for the two days I was off sick. It was stated that I did not follow policy and then I was bullied by the owner and HR to resign. I refused to quit stating that it was their decision to let me go or let me stay. The discussion started to get ugly so I stood up wished them a Happy New Year and said I would be in to work on Monday morning.

Today I was told I have until this Friday to get a note from my doctors explaining why I need accommodations.

I am in the state of Michigan and would like to know if I have reasonable grounds to quit. It is obvious that they have no intentions of making any accommodations and they are out to make my job as difficult as possible.




Hi,

You seem to have a lot going on and yes, I agree they are trying to force you out.

But you can't be "tired of the fight" until you have exhausted all your alternatives .. and although I'm thinking this employer might not have to comply with FMLA guidelines .. I do believe they would probably be worried about trying to force an employee out if they are taking actions in contradiction to what the ADA is for.

I mention the ADA because you have an autistic son and even though I'm not all that familiar with the guidelines for that act .. I am suggesting you find out if they are doing anything they shouldn't .. thereby giving you some ammunition to get them to cease and desist.

So here is the place to find out if they are out of compliance.

The home page for the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The proof you have documented that you are being targeted with regard to their "flex time policy" might be useful to show that the employer is not uniformly enforcing their policies and instead arbitrarily using their own policies to target employees as needed.

Please note Tired .. the link of the left of the ADA site that says "employment" leads straight to the EEOC .. that's where you could file a "formal complaint" against your employer.

Please don't give up .. just yet not until at least you have investigated your rights to protection first.

If necessary .. talk to an employment lawyer that specializes in workplace discrimination and definitely get the note from the doctor or doctors.

Chris

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Jan 11, 2011
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Hi Tired
by: Chris

Oh my!

I think you have absolutely every right to have the severance agreement looked over by an attorney .. in fact I'd say it is advisable.

Since the employer is now going on the contention that you are not performing to standards reasonably to be expected by them, I think the little clause about not fighting your unemployment benefits is a good thing.

It's sounding more like a quit in lieu of discharge for something that is not misconduct .. all the time.

If they require you to write a resignation letter make sure it includes the details that you were given no choice to continue in the employment and all the stuff about the medical documentation.

You most likely will not collect unemployment for two months .. but this also varies by state as to what that agreement actually says or requires you not to do.

But after that severance is no longer a factor .. an unemployment benefits are possible.

There is really no need to wait to file .. I'd do it the second you become officially unemployed, because it is taking a fair amount of time to process claims these days .. and if you're lucky, it will all be settled with the initial non-monetary determination by the time the severance is out of the picture.

Thanks for coming back and keeping us updated.

I'm surprised more don't .. since it is others experiences that can be the really helpful stuff to know.

By the way, just to verify .. FMLA is not an option?

Chris

Jan 10, 2011
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Severence offered
by: Tired of the Fight

As an update to the previous post I provided the supporting medical documentation from my health provider.

The conversation started out that they do not understand why it took two days for the doctor to write a two paragraph letter. It was then stated that the letter tells them nothing and they need to have the exact restrictions. That because the exact restrictions were not documented they feel that I am not cooperating on purpose.

As I was describing my limitations they tried twisting it and wording it so I would state that I was incapable of working. I stood my ground and stated that I was very capable and willing to work. Again stating that I love my job and the people I work with.

They stated that they did not understand what was going on and that I needed to clarify. I stated that if they felt I was a valuable employee and if they were pleased with my job performance then maybe there might be a way to work out the situation so that it would benefit both of us.

They then went into everything that they felt was wrong and that there wasn't anything positive that I do and I was disruptive to the environment. That if I could not be at work from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm everyday without any sick days that then I was the one that refused to be a team player. This coming from the person that works in the office maybe once every two weeks. etc.

My response was that from their statements that there was nothing I could do to save my job and they agreed. I did not say or offer anything after that statement. At that point they offered a contract to part ways and I would be paid for two months of work. If I had not found employment within the two months they would not fight the unemployment. In addition they would write me a letter of recommendation.

They want this resolved by tomorrow because they will be out of the office until the end of the month. The CEO actually said that she delayed her flight to get this resolved. They said that they will have it written up by tomorrow. I asked if that was all and received no response so I stood up and politely said that it was very sad and I said sorry I did not meet up to their expectations.

If I understand correctly by accepting a package I will not be eligible for unemployment. I am assuming that I can refuse to sign until I can have an attorney view the paperwork. But I am worried if I say that I am taking the paperwork to an attorney then it is still an admission of quitting.

I will be contacting an attorney tomorrow and will keep you updated. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.





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